Scott Gilbertson

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Scott Gilbertson writes about web and open source technologies. He runs LongHandPixels Press, publishing ebooks and tutorials about HTML, CSS and other web nerdery.
aardvark

Ubuntu 17.10: We're coming GNOME! Plenty that's Artful in Aardvark, with a few Wayland wails

For the first time in recent memory, there are some very big changes in the latest release of Ubuntu: 17.10. And it's not all to do with going, er, GNOME. The new GNOME-based Ubuntu desktop The new GNOME-based Ubuntu desktop (click to enlarge) This release is the first since Canonical announced it would cease development of …
various flavors of gelato ice cream in italy

What's your flava? Ooo, tell me what's your flava... of Ubuntu

The Canonical project is gearing up for one of its biggest releases yet. Ubuntu 17.10, due to arrive October 19, will be the company's first release since it abandoned its Unity desktop, Mir display server and the dream of "convergence". Instead Ubuntu users will get the GNOME desktop with a few tweaks that promise to make it a …
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Firefox doesn't need to be No 1 – and that's OK, 'cos it's falling off a cliff

Open Source Insider Just in case you didn't believe Firefox was on a trajectory that should have it crash and burn into extinction in the next couple of years, former chief technology officer Andreas Gal has usage stats that confirm it. To use Gal's words: "Firefox market share is falling off a cliff." The same could be said of Firefox itself. …
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Find your happy place: Fedora 26 has landed

Review Fedora 26, released recently, is a welcome update on the already very nice 25. As with Fedora's last couple of releases, there are three major ways to get Fedora 26 – Workstation, Server and Atomic Host. The Workstation release is aimed at desktop users and, by default, will install the GNOME desktop. Server and Atomic Host …
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Looking for an Ubuntu Unity close cousin? Elementary, my dear...

Ubuntu's Unity interface is gone, which means there's one less desktop to choose from in Linux-land. And while dozens remain to choose from, Unity was one of the most polished out there. Many will miss its detail and design. One of the desktops that is nearly as well polished, and therefore worth Unity fans considering, is the …

Debian 9 feels like home with security upgrades and a flaming vulpine warming your toes

Review The Debian Project has released Debian 9 after two years and, as you might expect for a work that's taken so long, it's quite an overhaul. In addition to major updates and changes to nearly every bit of software, there have been some important policy changes too. This version – dedicated to Ian Murdock, Debian founder and the …

'OK, everyone. Stop typing, this software is DONE,' said no one ever

Open Source Insider I recently received an email from an old shared hosting provider. The host wanted to "upgrade" my account to a new server. I had long since stopped using the account for all but one client site that ran a legacy version of Django. I built it ages ago, but it was done. It worked fine and the client was still happy with it. No big …
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Defend yourself against ISP tracking in an Trump-era free-for-all

ISPs in the US have regained to power to snoop on your internet browsing and sell the results to the highest bidder. Congress has passed news rules under President Donald Trump rolling back earlier restrictions on internet service providers - Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and so on - from selling or otherwise sharing your web browsing …
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Distro watch for Ubuntu lovers: What's ahead in Linux land

With the death of Unity, Canonical will focus more attention on Ubuntu servers, Ubuntu in the cloud and Ubuntu in the so-called Internet of Things. Even if you give Canonical the benefit of the doubt - that it will continue working on desktop Ubuntu - at the very least, desktop Ubuntu's future looks uncertain. Post Unity, how …
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Kill Google AMP before it KILLS the web

Open source insider There's been a good deal of ongoing discussion about Google AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages. Quite a few high-profile web developers have this year weighted in with criticism and some, following a Google conference dedicated to AMP, have cautioned users about diving in with both feet. These, in my view, don’t go far enough in …
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Linux homes for Ubuntu Unity orphans: Minty Cinnamon, GNOME or Ubuntu, mate?

Canonical is killing its Unity convergence play and Mir display, but fans of Ubuntu need not panic. You can continue to employ familiar Unity 7 interface for as long as you like, though you'll have to install it after you install Ubuntu by enabling the Universe repos. A community is also forming around the idea of continuing …
Back to the future

Post Unity 8 Ubuntu shock? Relax, Linux has been here before

If the recent news that Canonical is killing its Unity 8 desktop/phone interface and Mir display server caught you off guard, it’s only because you haven't been paying attention to the ups and down of the Linux world. Unity 8 and Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth's vision of convergence did not find a market in time for it …
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Flatpak and Snaps aren't destined for graveyard of failed Linux tech yet

The world of Linux has long been divided into tribes, or distros as we called them. But what actually makes a distro? The packages it uses? The people who put those packages together? The philosophy behind the choices the people who put the packages together make? The question of what makes a distro is actually very difficult on …
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Farewell Unity, you challenged desktop Linux. Oh well, here's Ubuntu 17.04

Review The arrival of Ubuntu 17.04 this month was completely overshadowed by Mark Shuttleworth's decision to abandon the Unity desktop for a stock GNOME Shell interface. Before you panic, Unity 7 will continue to be available via the Ubuntu universe repos. From the chatter on forums and blogs around the Ubuntu ecosystem it sounds …
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Why Firefox? Because not everybody is a web designer, silly

Open Source Insider Write, as I have, about Firefox and you receive the usual slew of critics who demand to know why Firefox matters? Who cares if Firefox continues to exist? This is often accompanied by "Chrome is better! Chrome is all we need!" Clearly a lot of people do think Chrome is better. StatCounter, which offers reasonably reliable …
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Ubuntu 17.04 beta FACT: It's what's on the inside that matters, not looks

Download Ubuntu 17.04 beta preview, recently released, and visually speaking you might be a little disappointed. Unity is almost entirely the same with some minor updates for a few core apps. Most of what's new comes from the move to GNOME 3.24 for a few apps and core components. Looks it’s said are not as important as what’s …
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Firefox Quantum: BIG browser project, huh? I share your concern

Open source insider Mozilla has been rolling out a major change to Firefox during the last year, the results of what the company calls its Electrolysis project. Electrolysis gives Firefox something Chrome has had for years now – multiple processes (in the best case scenario that's per tab). The change is a boon for speed – somewhere Firefox has …
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Is your AI being handed to you by Google? Try Apache open source – Amazon's AWS did

Open Source Insider Surprisingly, the MXNet Machine Learning project was this month accepted by the Apache Software Foundation as an open-source project. What's surprising about the announcement isn't so much that the ASF is accepting this face in the crowd to its ranks – it's hard to turn around in the software world these days without tripping …
Hyperspace

Two words, Mozilla: SPEED! NOW! Quit fiddling and get serious

Opinion The Mozilla Foundation has recently announced that it will refocus its development efforts on Firefox. Again. I know what you're thinking, what the heck else does Mozilla have to focus on? Well, you'd be hard pressed to find any evidence of it, but the company has been concentrating on building Firefox OS, which was supposed …
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SQL Server on Linux? HELL YES! Linux on Windows 10? Meh

Once the second biggest enemy of Linux (SCO Group takes top honours), Microsoft is positively giddy about not just supporting Linux but actually building tools that run Linux in Windows and about putting previously Windows-only software on Linux. You can run Ubuntu inside Windows 10, install CoreOS and Docker containers inside …
Cat in the hat

Oh, the things Vim could teach Silicon Valley's code slingers

Open Source Insider Vim text editor turned 25 late last year – the first public iteration was launched on November 2, 1991, a couple of weeks after Linus Torvalds announced Linux. To celebrate Vim's anniversary, creator Bram Moolenaar recently dropped version 8.0. Ordinarily the update of a text editor wouldn't be worth mentioning, but this is …

Fedora 25: You've got that Wayland feelin', oh, that Wayland feelin'

Fedora 25 is the first of the major Linux distros to employ the Wayland graphics stack by default. Wayland is one of the biggest low-level changes to hit Linux distros in recent memory and what's most remarkable at least when it comes to Fedora 25 is the move is almost totally transparent. Provided your graphics card is …
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OpenStreetView? You are no longer hostage to Google's car-driven vision

Open Source Insider One of the great bright lights of open-source software and user-driven community projects is OpenStreetMap, which offers an open-source mapping platform similar to, but also very philosophically different than, Google Maps. It manages to duplicate most of Google Maps using primarily the contributions of enthusiastic users, too …
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Arch Linux: In a world of polish, DIY never felt so good

Dig through the annals of Linux journalism and you'll find a surprising amount of coverage of some pretty obscure distros. Flashy new distros like Elementary OS and Solus garner attention for their slick interfaces, and anything shipping with a MATE desktop gets coverage by simple virtue of using MATE. Thanks to television …
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Put Firefox DE and Chromium in blender. Devs... Is it pure Blisk?

Open Source Insider Firefox Developer Edition offers a fantastic array of tools for web developers. From profiling memory use to debugging WebSocket and other HTML5 APIs, Firefox DE is a very useful tool. Developer Edition is, of course based on Firefox, which isn't to every developer's liking. To say Firefox is slower than Chromium is, in my …

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